Fire Department personnel check out the source of the odor, a hole that is part of a steam tunnel replacement project.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Fire Department plans to investigate the construction work that appears to have produced a smell of gasoline in the mechanical room of a Williams College dormitory.
Fire Chief Craig Pedercini said the smell appeared to be related to the use of gasoline by a contractor working on a steam line replacement project on West Lawn, to the west of Morgan Hall, a 100-bed residence hall at the corner of Spring and Main Streets that currently is not occupied.
After evaluating the situation for nearly two hours, Pedercini said there was no fire or health issue, but the Fire Department and college were employing fans to push the odor out of Morgan Hall and prevent it from infiltrating nearby West College, a 45-room Main Street dorm to the west of the steam tunnel replacement work.
The report was called in to the fire station at about 5:55 on Thursday evening.
"The first arriving officers investigated and found they did have an odor of gasoline in the building," Pedercini said.
"What we’re finding out now is that the contractor was doing some work, and there was a need to use Styrofoam as part of it, and, apparently, a need to remove the Styrofoam. And they used gasoline, it sounds like, to dissolve the Styrofoam away from the pipe. The odor is just lingering in that hole and that steam vault."
Pedercini said he did not believe that it was standard practice to use gasoline that manner.
"No," he said. "I would say no. There will be more looked into that part, but it’s not kosher to me at all."
All of the gasoline use was outside the building, in the hole dug for the steam tunnel project, Pedercini said.
"You can see where they were using it," he said. "The vapors will hang in that ditch and find a nook or a crack or if there’s a pipe running [into the building] and there’s a little space round it, the vapors will seep through."
There were a half-dozen people in Morgan Hall when the alarm sounded. The building was cleared by the time firefighters arrived, Pedercini said.
"It’s not full of kids yet," he said. "It’s kind of nice that if it’s going to happen, it happen now.
"It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s a poor practice [to use gasoline in that manner]. I’ll be investigating it, and I’m sure the college will want to know why they were doing it."
Williamstown, North Adams Police Seek Reports of Stolen Jewelry
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Police are asking area residents to report recent losses of jewelry that may be connected to a North Adams woman who was arraigned on Wednesday.
Jessica Morgan, 30, of Gregory Avenue, was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on one count of larceny over $250, Williamstown Police reported on Wednesday.
"On July 3, 2017, a Williamstown resident contacted the police department to report a significant amount of jewelry missing from her residence," the police news release read. "A subsequent investigation revealed that Morgan worked as a home health care worker in this home. It was later determined that jewelry matching the same description was pawned by Morgan.
"Unfortunately, a significant amount of the jewelry was later transferred and melted down prior to it being discovered missing."
Williamstown Police questioned Morgan in connection with the case, police said.
"This investigation prompted the report of similar larcenies from other area residences where Morgan worked," the police news release read. "A large amount of jewelry and property remain missing. The [Williamstown Police Department] is seeking public assistance with any additional reports or information regarding Jessica Morgan or missing or found jewelry."
Police ask anyone with information to contact either Sgt. Scott McGowan of the Williamstown Police at 413-458-5733 or Officer Josh Zustra of the North Adams Police at 413-664-4944.
"At this time, the investigation is continuing and at the conclusion, further criminal charges will be filed," McGowan said on Wednesday. "The majority of these crimes appear to be from April through July of 2017. However, I am also looking back as far as January of 2015."
Mount Greylock Student Injured in Motor Vehicle Accident
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — One occupant of a car involved in a single-car accident on Hopper Road was airlifted to a regional hospital on Thursday afternoon.
The injured party was a student at Mount Greylock Regional School, and school officials are doing their best to notify members of the school community, Mount Greylock's interim superintendent said on Thursday night.
"We are aware students and families are anxious and are working as a school community to make sure we have students supported as they enter school tomorrow," Kimberley Grady said.
"[Principal Mary [MacDonald] has reached out to families, staff and coaches so that we have everyone ready to help students tomorrow."
Grady said another student involved in the accident was treated and released from Berkshire Medical Center.
She was not at liberty to reveal the names or ages of the students involved.
Williamstown Police on Thursday night referred questions to the state police, who responded to the scene, and the district attorney's office.
Williams College Senior Reported as Missing Found Unharmed
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Police Department announced Friday afternoon that a Williams College student who had been reported missing on Wednesday was found unharmed.
Police said Nathaniel Luke Whittle, 23, a senior from Texas, was safe and in contact with his family.
Whittle was reported missing to police on Wednesday after last having been seen Monday at a bank in Bloomfield, Conn.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Police Department is seeking the public's assistance in locating a missing Williams College student.
Nathaniel Luke Whittle, 23, a senior from Texas, was reported missing to police on Wednesday. At this time, law enforcement does not believe this is a matter of suspicious circumstances. However, authorities are concerned for Whittle's well-being as he may be in need of mental health treatment.
He was last seen Monday at a bank in Bloomfield, Conn.
Whittle is described as a white male, standing 6-foot-1, weighing 180 to 200 pounds and operating a gray Toyota Tacoma extended-cab pickup truck with Texas plate number CBJ0333.
A nationwide broadcast has been sent to all law enforcement agencies requesting assistance.
If anyone has information concerning this matter, contact Sgt. Scott McGowan at the Williamstown Police Department at 413-458-5733.